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How to Write Letters to Children

Updated on January 18, 2012

As adults, we often dread going to the mailbox. It's usually filled with bills, ads.... things that we don't really want to see.

But... remember how much fun it was to get mail as a kid? There was the anticipation of going to the mailbox and possibly discovering something for YOU. And, for children, the mail is exciting and fun.

Writing letters is a great way to keep in touch with children who important in your life - grandchildren, nieces, nephews, family friends.... Letters also have the bonus, of getting the children to start reading (and maybe even writing back!).

For very young children, the letters should be simple. Pictures will brighten up the letters, and will help young children start to read, i.e. by associating the pictures with the word next to them. The computer world has made it very easy to insert pictures into a letter.

As an example, for a child that's turning 2, you might choose "2" as the theme of the letter. Put a big colorful 2 in the letter. Write that you saw 2 birds in the sky (and insert pictures of 2 birds); reinforce the concept by saying that you had 2 eggs for breakfast (and, again, illustrate with pictures of 2 eggs). Colors, numbers, shapes, animals and foods are all great topics for letters to toddlers and preschool children- and these concepts are all easy to associate with pictures. You can use photos -- or any of the many clipart images that are available online or through word processing programs.

As the child gets older (older preschool to young elementary school-age), you can gradually add more text and reduce the number of pictures. Keep sentences simple, and concepts easy. It can be a lot of fun to start including puzzles with your letters. Many of these simple puzzles can be printed for free online. However, if you have the energy, it's great (and can be fun for you, too) to create the puzzles yourself -- and personalize the puzzles to the child. Some puzzle examples would be mazes, matches, wordfinds, and crossword puzzle.

As the child gets older, you can encourage a response. As a starter, you can even include a multiple choice, or fill-in-the-blanks return letter, for the child to complete and mail back.

This concept even works well for teenage and adult children. They may not make the time to write, but by adding humor to your form, you might actually make them smile enough to respond, e.g.

Dear (choose one)

---- best mom in the world

---most beautiful woman on earth

----who are you?

---person who might have been a part of my life in childhood

(you get the picture :) ). You might invite a lengthier, informative response, by a starter such as "Something funny that happened in school today was________________" ...

In short, taking and making the time to write to the children in your life, can be rewarding to both of you. Even if you never get a response, you've made the effort to let that child know, that you're thinking of them, and that they are important to you.

And, the simple act of letting a child know that you are there for them, and that you care, is always worth making the time for.

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